General — 30 December 2014 — by Kareem Clarke
Belize and Japan sign million-dollar grant

BELIZE CITY–The Governments of Belize and Japan signed an agreement by means of which Belize will receive one hundred million Japanese yen in grant funds from Japan as part of the Non-Project Grant Assistance for Industrial Products program, which is intended to assist with Belize’s economic and social development.

The Japanese non-resident Ambassador to Belize, His Excellency Yasuo Takase, was in the country for the signing of the grant, which amounts to approximately BZ$1.65 million, and after the conclusion of the signing, Prime Minister Dean Barrow informed the media that the initiative is one of several ways in which the local economies of those areas affected during Japan’s last natural disaster are being stimulated.

He said, “This involves a grant of one hundred million yen from the Japanese government to Belize, and the money is to be used in a very interesting way. From what I saw in terms of the briefing note and what the ambassador explained to me, this model will be used for Belize to buy from a range of products that are, in fact, manufactured in areas of Japan that suffered from the last natural disaster, so it’s a way for the Japanese government to help to stimulate the economy in those areas, help them to get back on the good foot, while at the same time allowing developing countries such as Belize to benefit from the Japanese grant.  There is, as I said, a whole gamut of products, and that panoply includes loaders and instruments to measure the weather, but clearly this can prove extremely useful to Belize.”

As we said, Japan is using the program to kick-start production in areas of the country that were damaged by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, which ravaged the island nation’s Pacific coast, through the sales of machinery, including weather instruments and heavy equipment.

One of the conditions of the grant, however, is that Belize has to spend the allotted funds by the end of 2015.

The products available under the grant arrangement include loaders, computers, weather instruments and other items, which should arrive in Belize sometime in 2015.

We understand that Japan will send a team to Belize in the first quarter of 2015 after a bank account is opened in Japan for the purposes of the disbursement of the funds.

The signing took place at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ office on Coney Drive in Belize City.

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